Energy policy — solar: A Carbon-Neutral Energy Supply for Each Individual

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From the Telluride Daily Planet (Lisa Christadore):

Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Henry Dreyfus Professor of Energy, Daniel Nocera, is tackling the alternative energy dilemma head on. He has designed a system that mimics photosynthesis to generate hydrogen fuel in the laboratory just as plants do in nature. On Tuesday, Nocera will present the Pinhead Town Talk, “Personalized Energy: A Carbon-Neutral Energy Supply for Each Individual (x 6 Billion People).” He will illuminate how his revolutionary invention captures sunlight and creates enough energy to potentially meet the entire world’s needs by 2050.

More energy policy coverage here.

Nestlé Waters Chaffee County project: County commissioners still deliberating permit

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Update: Here’s a recap of the meeting from the Ark Valley Voice (Sterling R. Quinton). From the article:

[Nestlé Waters North America] submitted a request to put off a decision by the Commissioners until such time as the contractual conditions for the permit could be “word-smithed” with input from NWNA. To some, such overtures appeared to be the company angling for negotiations. Possibly anticipating such an accusation, NWNA Regional Manager Bruce Lauerman stated that, “We’re not writing these conditions, but we have some suggestions.”

Chaffee Citizens for Sustainability’s John Graham requested that any potential decision be held off until a public-comment period could be held for community input on the contract conditions. Graham suggested that the public and various consulting firms should be able to offer input on conditions of such magnitude. The Commissioners denied both requests.

From The Denver Post (Jason Blevins):

Chaffee County commissioners spent hours Wednesday deliberating a proposal by Nestle Waters to ship Arkansas River Valley spring water to Denver for bottling…The commissioners will take up the Nestle plan again Aug. 19.

More coverage from The Colorado Springs Gazette (R. Scott Rappold):

Since last fall, Chaffee County commissioners have been wrestling with the project and harsh public reaction to it. On Wednesday, they went over a long list of conditions under which they would approve Nestle’s plan. But the board, which held a half-dozen marathon public hearings in the spring and has debated it twice in meetings since, again balked at taking a vote on a land-use plan. Commissioners set Aug. 19 for the next meeting, at which county staff will present refined conditions…

The commissioners denied requests by Nestle to delay the discussion and by opponents to reopen public comment.

“We have worked a long time reaching this point where we have these conditions,” said Commissioner Frank Holman, “Even though I believe we need to go through them and ask a number of questions and clarify and perhaps request staff do some more work on them, I, for one, believe we have the input we need.”

Among the 47 conditions are the hiring of local workers, limitations on the number of trucks per day on U.S. Highway 285, requirements for monitoring ground water in the area and stipulations that the city of Aurora, from whom Nestle is buying replacement water, release water upstream from the springs. The wells would have to be shut off in years when extreme drought compels Aurora to lease water from downriver farmers.

More Nestlé Waters Chaffee County project coverage here.

CSU forum on emerging contaminants: Plants can absorb chemicals from effluent

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From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Trevor Hughes):

University of Arizona professor Charles A. Sanchez is conducting research on the Colorado River, looking into where such chemicals are found and at what levels they can be found in plants irrigated with treated wastewater. Speaking at a Colorado State University forum on emerging contaminants, Sanchez said his tests showed what he considered very low amounts of illicit drugs such as methamphetamine and ecstasy, along with antibiotics, present in crops such as melons, cantaloupe and spinach irrigated with the effluent. “We found a little bit of ecstasy in Bermuda grass,” Sanchez said. “We think the risk is negligible.”[…]

Fort Collins does not widely use effluent for irrigation, said Steve Comstock, the city’s water reclamation and biosolids manager. Comstock said some effluent is used to irrigate the lawns around the city’s two treatment plants, but that’s it. He said Sanchez’s research builds on what many people in the industry already know. Multiple studies, including on the Poudre River, have shown the presence of everything from caffeine and antibiotics to birth control in treated wastewater. Federal regulations don’t require the removal of such contaminants, but that day is likely coming, Comstock said. “It’s something that everybody sort of knows that’s on the horizon,” Comstock said. “The suspicion out there is that this will be regulated before long.”

More wastewater coverage here.